If you’ve ever driven north on Interstate 5 and passed through the section with industrial feedlots for cattle, you know the smell. It’s unforgettable. Besides the obvious odor, though, there are serious environmental, animal welfare and human health issues associated with these large-scale meat production facilities.
Those issues are similar to environmental concerns about offshore aquaculture – or factory fish farms in the ocean.
In Ry Rivard’s Jan. 19 story, “State Probing Experimental Hubbs Fish Breeding Program That’s Spawned Deformities, Mixed Results,” he called attention to the prevalence of disease and deformity in hatchery-raised white seabass in a smaller project run by Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Rivard shared internal email correspondence from a California Department of Fish and Wildlife pathologist, who indicated that mismanagement and negligence are at least partly to blame in the state-funded, $28 million research project.
Yet, Hubbs-SeaWorld is the same organization that’s partnering with a private equity firm to build a massive commercial offshore finfish farm in federal waters about four miles off Ocean Beach. It could produce yearly 11 million pounds of yellowtail jack, white seabass and striped bass – plus the associated fecal, feed, antibiotics waste, predator and wildlife interruptions and commercial ship traffic that accompanies factory fish farms.